Get Stronger with Body-Weight Training

5 Nov

When it comes to Strength training, you don’t need machines and equipment to be productive.  At ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE TRAINING CENTER, we incorporate body-weight exercises into virtually every workout.  Most body-weight exercises are inherently multi-joint, and activate multiple muscle groups in the process.  This is preferable to using machines that “lock” you into single-joint exercises that limit your range of motion and isolate specific muscles (although this approach has its place, situationally).  You can further increase the degree of difficulty by adding an element of instability to your body weight exercises.  Once you master technique, try adding an unstable surface like an Airex Balance Pad or BOSU Ball.  Below are some examples of body-weight exercises you can add to your workout:


  • Squat:  Observe proper form (chin up; back straight; lower and push through heels) and squat as deeply as you can.  Pause for a second (and gradually increase time) in “down” position.
  • Single-Leg Squat:  Facing away from a chair or bench, elevate one leg and lower into sitting position and pause.  Push back to standing position with “ground” foot.
  • Split Squat:  Assume split stance – one leg forward, one leg back.  Lower back knee toward (but not touching) ground.  When in down position, both knees should be at right angles.
  • Bulgarian Split Squat:  This is a split squat performed with your rear leg elevated, back foot resting on a chair or bench.  Front foot should be 3-4 foot-lengths from back foot.


  • Pushup:  There are more variations of this exercise than I can list in one blog post.  The biggest mistake I see involves range-of-motion – lower your chest all the way to the ground.  Instability (one or both arms, and or legs – see photo) is the key to making this exercise more challenging.
  • Chinup/Pullup:  A must-do!  If you can’t yet do them on your own, get a spot (assisted) or do “negatives” (start in up position and slowly lower yourself to a 4-second count).  Add variety by changing grips.
  • Dip:  Beginners can do this exercise on a bench.  More advanced individuals should use dip bars with feet suspended.



  • Squat Jump:  This exercise can also be done single-leg or with a split stance.


Your thoughts?

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